Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone [8/10]

Tech superstar Vivian Liao catapults into an impossibly huge fraught space-opera stage where she and a motley bunch of people, creatures and things battle an omnipresent Empress. If my plot description sounds wild, well, “Empress of Forever” is a sci-fi/fantasy extravaganza and most authors would flounder under the weight of its inventiveness. But Max Gladstone is a passionate, adept author (I came to him via his co-authored novel of lyrical time travel, “This Is How You Lose the Time War“), and here his language blooms. The plot whistles in the dark, the space-time set pieces glow, and all round, this is one superior bout of entertainment and imagination. Most recommended and we should look forward to a genre classic from Gladstone’s incandescent pen.

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